How Art is Born
Episode 6


Mental health and representation with comic artists Jacenta L. Irlanda & Diamanto Sala


Jacenta L. Irlanda, Diamanto Sala, and host R. Alan Brooks all have something in common: A love of comics from a very young age. All three found escape and joy in reading and creating comics as children and that love persists today, though with a more nuanced approach, especially due to their respective jobs and identities. In Jacenta’s case, she incorporates comics into her art therapy practice in order to help clients access their emotional trauma in a safe manner. For Diamanto, their job as a sex worker has enhanced their desire to see themes of justice in the comics they consume. For both of them, meaningful representation—not tokenization—both on the page and behind the pen, are of paramount importance. In this special two-for-one episode, the group discusses these themes, plus the pressure to conform their artistic style to others’, advice for receiving harsh feedback, and more.

Links mentioned in this episode:

This episode contains mature language and content.



[Image description: Photo of Jacenta L. Irlanda crouched in front of a wooden fence. She is smiling at the camera with a large mutt dog. She is wearing a black t-shirt, blue jeans, rainbow suspenders, and a black fedora atop her cool blue-dyed hair. The dog is wearing a rainbow bandana around its neck.]

Jacenta Irlanda is an artist and art therapist in Colorado who is the current President of the Colorado Art Therapy Association. She has given presentations, hosts a podcast, and participates in community art events. She utilizes art to connect with communities and guide healing journeys of the people she works with.

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[Image description: Photo of Diamanto Sala. There is a heavy blue filter on the photo of Diamanto in a pensive pose. They are wearing large sunglasses and their short wavy hair is glowing in the blue light.]

Diamanto Sala is a trans queer disabled Sinti  sex worker artist. They enjoy creating sequential art and illustration as well as character and creature design. Their work often focuses on gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity through the lenses of science fiction or fantasy. In addition to creating art, they are also an amateur entomologist and naturalist. Their work is heavily inspired by the wonders of biology. They have mostly had work published in small sex worker created zines.

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